Need some help please. Iím fairly new to cycling and am not sure what to expect from myself or how to get the most out of myself. I have been hanging out here hoping to derive this information from the group but I guess Iím too dense and just not seeing it plainly stated so Iíll throw out my questions and see what comes back.
First let me give you some parameters.
1) 60 year old male, 230 lbs. Quit smoking 2.5 yrs ago and generally in good health.
2) Started riding an ďoldĒ big-box-store mountain bike last summer. Did not ride between last Oct & this past May but ran Ĺ hour on a treadmill 4 nights a week during the off season. Bought a Trek 7300 (hybrid) this June and have ridden 478 miles so far this season.
3) Try to ride 4 times per week. Rides generally are between 15 Ė 20 miles at an average speed of about 12.5 MPH. Rides are in Delaware which is generally pretty flat.
My problem is that I keep reading how people are riding 30, 40, 50, 100 miles and averaging upwards of 17 mph or better. A lot of the rides are no less in what I would consider mountainous areas. Iím like ďWhatís my problem?Ē. Why am I not beating my 12.5 MPH average and why is a 20 mile ride killing me?
Toward all this I have a few questions and am open to any words of wisdom to answer them.
1) About my 12.5 MPH average and my 20 mile max. distance. Am I expecting too much out of my bike? Are these numbers about all Iím going to get out of my hybrid, understanding Iím not Lance Armstrong? Would I get better results were I on a road bike? I have looked at, and rode a road bike since ridding my hybrid and it seems it is a lot faster than my 7300.
2) When I ride I try to only stop every 5 miles for a break and then I only take a 6 minute break. I know it is six minutes because I use my bikeís odometer to time it. It shuts off after six minutes with no motion. Thatís when I start riding again. Now I canít imagine Iím not stopping enough so I guess my question is am I stopping long enough? I figure I am but I thought Iíd ask how you all manage your breaks.
3) Nutrition. I have read so many things on nutrition that I think I have gained 5 lbs just from reading about it. Is there any magic in what you eat before, during, and after your ride? Iím on the South Beach diet so Iím trying to eat healthy. As far as my rides I usually donít eat before or during my ride. However, Iím reading how people eat carbs before they ride, energy food while they ride, and protein after they ride. Are my rides too short (20 mile max) to worry about any of this or is my eating habits associated with my rides part of my problem?
Well thatís about it. Iím posting this in two forums, the hybrid and the 50+ so if youíve seen/responded to this already I apologize. I just figure seeing as Iím over 50 and ride a hybrid the audience for these issues lies between the two groups so the best way to cover all the bases is to post in both groups.
Thanks In advance for any input and may you have a following wind on your next ride. Both out bound and inbound.